9th Jun 2017
Another warm welcome to more newborns! This time they are of the fluffy, feathered variety in the shape of four beautiful cygnets, born at the end of May to proud parents, Charley (Mum) and Barry, our resident mute swans.
Poor Charley, who is around 20 years old, was widowed a three years ago and after many months of grieving, was introduced to Barry last year on the advice of our Wildlife team.
Fortunately they appear to have hit it off and together they built two separate nests in St Fiachra’s Garden, before deciding on their favourite in which Charley laid eight eggs. Each egg takes around 24-hours to produce and a further six-weeks of gestation. The four siblings were first spotted on 27th May and have toddled between both lakes as their parents introduce them to the wide world.
St Fiachra’s head gardener, Davey Rowan, takes a special interest in the family as he has watched them mature over the last fifteen years, feeding both them and the ducks during the winter months.
“It is lovely to see Charley thriving now with her new family” says Dave. “Just before hatching, Barry became quite aggressive towards me which is unusual so he must have known the time was near”.
The babies will enjoy the next six to eight months in the care of their parents before they are naturally weaned away. “Whilst we do have plenty of mink around as predators, the swans are amazing parents are very protective so fingers crossed they should all survive. Although Barry is quite a young Dad and a little cautious, he instinctively knew what to do when the youngsters were looking for a lift on his back.”
The babies are already developing their personalities, with two daredevils showing independence by exploring further away from their folks than they should before Mum rounds them up. At nap time, we attempt to creep up on them for a picture but Barry’s having none of it and hisses us away with a big wing display.
Hopefully as we discover their genders, they’ll get names of their own, so tune in for the next update or come down for a visit and some photography of your own. Remember we’ve also spotted egrets and grebes amongst the wide variety of birdlife here on the stud.